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Old April 14th 04, 03:54 PM
Kenneth Sloan
 
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Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

(Bryan Norman) writes:

I was considering openings to teach my kids that are beginners. In
particular,
as black how to respond to 1 e4.


BZZZT! Beginners need to learn endgames and mating positions and
GENERAL opening principles. Any coach who tries to teach beginners "how
to respons as black to 1. e4" is seriously misguided. (I apologize for
my blunt language, but it needs to be said).


My one son, rated about 500, likes to play more enterprising, non standard
openings.


Players rated 0500 don't need to know that there is such a thing as a
"standard opening", much less "non-standard openings"!!!!


He is interested in the Center Counter. Thoughts on this? I thought
it might be a good choice so that he does not just play into double
king pawn
preparation by his opponents.


Why not? If he plays double king pawn openings based on general
principles, and actually follows those principles, he will clobber every
other player rated 0600 or below who is depending on "preparation".
He'll lose a few games to standard traps - but I think it's better to
learn those traps by losing serious games than it is to try to teach
them all during lessons. 0500 player need to *play* - not study!


Initially I taught my kids to play double king pawn openings. However, this
seems to simplify their opponents lives since e5 is the response they
expect to e4.

I welcome any comments.


Don't teach 0500 players "openings". Teach opening principles.

I usually start with (in the opening):

a) have you castled? why not? fix that!
b) develop, develop, develop
c) center, center, center
d) stay alert for tactics ("you can't develop that piece, because that P
is hanging")

Any 0500 player who successfully implements these principles will
immediately become an 0800 player. And, he'll still be trouncing 0800
players who depend on "opening preparation"

Why? Because before we do any of the above, I want new players to
first:

A) play the "Pawns Game" (you can teach it to a 6yo in 5 minutes and
they will play it happily for at least an hour - sometimes for 6
months. That same 6yo can teach it to Mommy in 10 min and they can play
a game or seven every night after dinner.)

B) play both sides of KRRk

C) play both sides of KRk

D) play both sides of KBBk (some think this is a bit radical)

E) finally, play with the horsie (and then the Q)

Not until this stage should a student be allowed to set up the starting
position and play "real chess". But, when they do, they *immediately*
start winning games against players who have been playing "real chess"
from the beginning. And they absolutely destroy players who have been
drilled in "black's best response on move 7 in the Albin
Counter-Gambit".

These players occasionally drop a piece in the opening, another piece in
the middlegame - and then checkmate their opponent.

BTW, a player schooled in the basic opening principles will usually play
very natural double-KP openings (without *any* instruction on opening
*moves*), but I would expect them to invent the Center Counter as a
possible alternative worth trying. My expectation is that they would
play it (and win) until they got crushed by someone who understood that
opening...and then they would go back to double-KP for another 400
rating points or so. I see *no* advantage in trying to teach a 0500
player how to correctly play the Center Counter against a stronger
White. The danger is that the 0500 player *will* be successful playing
the Center Counter against other 0500 players (leaving "book" on move
3-5) and will become fond of it. This will be a problem when he moves
up a couple of notches. I've *very* suspiscious of *all* of the popular
openings that involve developing the Q early. (notice that in my
syllabus, the Q is the *last* piece out of the box.)

--
Kenneth Sloan

Computer and Information Sciences (205) 934-2213
University of Alabama at Birmingham FAX (205) 934-5473
Birmingham, AL 35294-1170
http://www.cis.uab.edu/sloan/
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Old April 14th 04, 04:52 PM
Mike Leahy
 
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Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

Everyone has their opinion. Here's mine.

First, at the under 1000 level, tactics prevail. Heck, to a large extent
tactics prevail at all levels. Even if a youngster falls prey to the best
opening preparation that a sub-1000 player can produce, that youngster will
recover and win with tactics. I've seen that a lot, even with my own
daughter.

Next, it pays to have a few lines prepared. I would not want any beginner
feeling like they were on their own after 1.e4 considering how well some
junior players are prepared. Show them a few lines, a few traps to avoid
and most importantly the themes and principles. Even if they can't remember
the lines, the additional confidence is worth the time to prepare the
opening a bit.

If software will help to learn how to play the Black side of 1.e4 e5, try
downloading the free Bookup 2000 Express and opening the "Demo Book" which
has excerpts from FM Chuck Schulien's Open Game II, a repertoire for Black
after 1.e4 e5.


Mike Leahy
"The Database Man!"
www.bookup.com

"Bryan Norman" wrote in message
...
I was considering openings to teach my kids that are beginners. In

particular,
as black how to respond to 1 e4.

My one son, rated about 500, likes to play more enterprising, non standard
openings. He is interested in the Center Counter. Thoughts on this? I

thought
it might be a good choice so that he does not just play into double king

pawn
preparation by his opponents.

Initially I taught my kids to play double king pawn openings. However,

this
seems to simplify their opponents lives since e5 is the response they
expect to e4.

I welcome any comments.

Bryan



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Old April 14th 04, 10:30 PM
Curtist Thetford
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4


"Mike Leahy" wrote in message
m...
Everyone has their opinion. Here's mine.

First, at the under 1000 level, tactics prevail. Heck, to a large extent
tactics prevail at all levels. Even if a youngster falls prey to the best
opening preparation that a sub-1000 player can produce, that youngster

will
recover and win with tactics. I've seen that a lot, even with my own
daughter.


In fact based on my experiences watching my daughter (3rd grade now 800) and
son (1st grade approaching 500) for the last year or so, I would say that it
is even more basic than that. In a game between 500 players it is likely
going to be decided by who is the most observant. Both players will simply
give away pieces multiple times in the game so getting them to stop hanging
pieces is a more significant priority than teaching openings (or even
opening principles for that matter, although it's probably never too soon to
start doing that). My feeling is that being observant is enough to take a
player up to the 900-1000 level.

My daughter is just now reaching the point that her games are now sometimes
decided by a decisive tactic or king attack in the middle game. Even with
that though, probably 1/2 the games are still decided by who gives away
the fewest pieces.

My prerequisite for letting my kids play tournament chess we
1) Know and play basic opening principles.
2) Know how to give (and more importantly how to stop!) scholars mate.
3) How to checkmate with a KQvK, KQRvK and KRRvK. (I also taught the KRvK
mate very early as well)
4) Know the value of the pieces.

Then the basic strategy I taught them was simple: 1) take pieces given to
you for free, 2) don't give your pieces away for free, 3) make even trades
whenever possible when you're ahead, 4) when your opponent runs out of
pieces, eat his pawns (it's amazing how little kids will allow an opponent
to just walk a pawn up the board and get a queen) and when they're gone, 5)
go get a queen if necessary and use the checkmates you know to win. (one of
my rules is to never have two queens on the board at once - stays away from
unnecessary stalemates).

Now that my daughter is older, and writing her moves, we are going over her
games and teaching more strategic concepts KpvK endgames, rooks on open
files tactics, etc and she is starting to work tactics puzzles. The only
real downside I've experienced from the way I taught her is that I had a
hard time getting her to look for ways to attack the king in the middle game
(since I had told her to get rid of all of the pieces before going for the
checkmate). However, after reviewing this concept in several of her games
she has finally broken through that barrier.

Of course, I'm just a 1250 player myself so I suspect in the next year or
two, she will hit the limits of what I can teach her and I'll have to get
someone else to help her!


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Old April 14th 04, 10:36 PM
Remco Gerlich
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

On 2004-04-14, Bryan Norman wrote:
I was considering openings to teach my kids that are beginners. In particular,
as black how to respond to 1 e4.


If you were trying to teach someone a foreign language, would you:

A) Teach them the grammar, show them simplified versions of typical
discussions in typical situations, have them practice their skills a
lot.

or

B) Take a bunch of great sentences spoken by masters of the language,
cut the ends so you only have the first five words as each, and have
them learn those words by heart without telling them what they mean.
(Basically teach them that "to be or not" is best followed by "to"
because that's what GM Shakespeare wrote in Informator, not mentioning
6."be" nor what he meant)

Learning opening moves is for 2000+ players (students of
literature). Precisely because they know better than to study this
way.

--
Remco Gerlich



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Old April 15th 04, 08:11 PM
Ray Gordon
 
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Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

Teach them the French-er, "Freedom Defense" and the Pelikan Sicilian.

--
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The Seduction Library Forum
"Bryan Norman" wrote in message
...
I was considering openings to teach my kids that are beginners. In

particular,
as black how to respond to 1 e4.

My one son, rated about 500, likes to play more enterprising, non standard
openings. He is interested in the Center Counter. Thoughts on this? I

thought
it might be a good choice so that he does not just play into double king

pawn
preparation by his opponents.

Initially I taught my kids to play double king pawn openings. However,

this
seems to simplify their opponents lives since e5 is the response they
expect to e4.

I welcome any comments.

Bryan



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Old April 15th 04, 09:08 PM
Ron
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

In article ,
(Bryan Norman) wrote:

I was considering openings to teach my kids that are beginners. In
particular,
as black how to respond to 1 e4.

My one son, rated about 500, likes to play more enterprising, non standard
openings. He is interested in the Center Counter. Thoughts on this? I thought
it might be a good choice so that he does not just play into double king pawn
preparation by his opponents.

Initially I taught my kids to play double king pawn openings. However, this
seems to simplify their opponents lives since e5 is the response they
expect to e4.


I think you're making a mistake. Teach him opening principles -- get
your pieces out, look for tactics. Show him the idea of returning
material with -d5 if black throws some unexpected gambit at him.

Show him that he can fight back even if he loses the exchange. Show him
examples of active pieces compensating for poor structure or a minor
material deficit. Then let him play.

The first time I faced the king's gambit in tournament play, my
opponent was about 450 points higher than me (around 1900). He played
3.Bc3 (avoiding 3.Nf3, the only thing I had done any preparation for.)
That's your nightmare situation from an opening-prep standpoint, right?
Stronger player. Unexpected line.

He sacced a piece, and I won, although I believe he later missed a
tactic that would have gotten him his piece back with a probable draw.
(I would have had an extra pawn, but it would have been doubled).

The first time I faced the danish gambit in a tournament (we were both
probably around 1300 at the time), my opponent translated his initiative
into the win of the exchange. I fought back and found a piece sacrifice
that forced a perpetual check. He was so startled that I kept fighting
that he missed an opportunity to decline the sacrifice, maintaining a
minimal advantage (exchange for a pawn with a lot of pieces coming off).
A 1300-player, much stronger than the guys your son will be playing.

I don't think the above experiences are unusual at the class c, b, and
a levels. I'm sure they're everyday at the sub-1000 level.

He'll learn more about the opening by playing through unfamiliar
positions over the board (even if it costs him a few points in the short
run) that he'll learn by any amount of book study. The worst thing,
IMHO, that you can teach your son right now is that he somehow has to
fear his opponent's opening preparation. Quite frankly, I think that's
an absurd (and dangerous) notion probably until he's (at least) an
a-player or an expert.

-Ron
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Old April 16th 04, 08:01 AM
Remco Gerlich
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

On 2004-04-15, David Kane wrote:
There *is* something to be said for prepping kids on
preventing Scholar's mate. Call it tactics instead
of openings if you prefer, but Qf7++ claims an awful
lot of victims in K-3.


So? They lose to it once, then they lose to ...g6 Qxe5+ and Qxh8 once,
then they won't do it again. In the meantime you've been teaching them
principles, so they won't be tempted to try the Scholar's mate against
every opponent they see.

--
Remco Gerlich
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Old April 16th 04, 10:32 AM
Remco Gerlich
 
Posts: n/a
Default Chess openings for kids - especially black response to 1. e4

On 2004-04-16, David Kane wrote:
But victims of Scholar's mate aren't violating opening principles. It's
really a tactical problem that many novices won't see or be able to
solve when faced with it over the board. And while I wouldn't recommend
it, the penalty for trying to administer Scholar's mate and failing is
pretty small in the context of K-3 games.


I think that if you give them many tactics exercises, looking for
mate, that they will learn to see the threat as a side effect. Of
course tactics exercises are the most important part of beginners'
chess teaching (a /few/ basic endgames, but otherwise only tactics,
I'd say).

Not that this matters much of course, noone is going to be a worse
player by being shown the Scholar's mate and what to do about it, it's
not as if it takes a lot of time that could have been spent better :-)

And of course the goal is not to train players to be able to win K-3
games, the goal is to train them to become good chess players. Which
is precisely why they sometimes need to be told that something isn't
really a good idea, even though it's not punished in K-3 chess.

I believe I am contradicting myself. First I say that only tactics are
important, then that opening principles need to be taught...

Whatever. Stick to tactics, games that start with a quick Qh5 where
black defends and then still get beaten by superior White tactics are
a lot of fun and perfectly fine, never mind what I said before :-)

--
Remco Gerlich
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